Girls only club.

•December 17, 2008 • Leave a Comment

With the incredible increase of the female population in video games in MMOGs the interest in female only groups has also increased. Throughout MMOG history the online communities has seen the formation of guilds or clans. A guild is when a group of players that play regularly with each other come together and form a club of sorts. You see these guilds in all forms of MMOGs and in each one they serve a particular purpose. Games such as first person shooters (FPS) and role-playing games are littered with these clubs and each guild is actively trying to increase their numbers. Within these guilds a new phenomena has arisen. The communities have seen the increase of female only clubs. Leading the way in this new era is a group called Frag Dolls.

Frag Dolls is a female only clan that was formed in 2004 by the Ubisoft production company. The purpose of the formation of Frag Dolls is to represent Ubisoft video games and to promote the presence of female gamers. Frag Dolls travel to conventions to participate in tournaments, talk on panels for promoting female gamers and encourage safe and positive gaming environments for women gamers. The frag Dolls have dominated many first person shooter tournaments and are seen as talented players in all video game genres. The interesting thing about Frag Dolls is that they are all beautiful women.

Most if not all of them can literally pass as a model for any of Americans main stream magazines. So what is the message that Ubisoft and the Frag Dolls sending here? I admire the ladies of Frag Dolls for their efforts in encouraging women in gaming but I fear the Ubisoft is using them for their looks in another form of marketing. We should take a step back and ask ourselves these questions; Do we want another form of media expressing what a female gamer should look like? Or do we want a community that accepts females for who they are?  Though I do encourage their efforts and I think they are all very courageous for the stand they are making for women in gaming.  Keep up the good work ladies!  For further information you can find it on their website:

www.fragdolls.com


A new Realm for women.

•December 16, 2008 • Leave a Comment

As popularity in video games increase more genres are being populated by women gamers. One such genre are MMOGs, Massive Multiplayer Online Games is seeing proof of this increase. The MMOGs video game genre covers all games from real time strategies (RTS), first person shooters (FPS), role playing games (RPG) and much more. One such MMOGs has seen an incredible increase in women population:

World of Warcraft (WoW), an MMORPG. According to online statistics and surveys, WoW is boasting a population that range from 9 to 10 million people. Within this community of online players 30 percent of the population are women. With such a large community of immature and chauvinistic players it seems that prepubescent teens run rampant, why would there be such a large number of women players. Though the game sports scantily clad vixens of different races certain things must be taken into consideration as to why women are being lured into WoW. World of Warcraft provides the chance for their players to warp into another world and become enveloped in fantasy driven atmosphere unlike their own reality. Within this world men and women can become powerful mages,

priestess,

and raging warriors.

Women are finding a sense of escape within the pixilated realm of WoW where character progression isn’t hampered by what sex you are, that the methods of creating a powerful character are the same throughout both sexes. WoW allows a chance for women along with men to portray their inner desires of becoming powerful characters that aren’t held down by real world responsibilities. Another factor that adds to the allure of WoW to women is that the game can be used as a social outlet. WoW is a game where the focus is on gathering in groups and setting out to conquer the bad guys. Within these groups women and men find a chance to socialize with people throughout the world providing a chance that a person wouldn’t have normally. The final point I’m going to touch on is the ability to make characters look awesome during the progression of play and power gaining. Players are given the chance to customize their characters allowing them to become more unique. With these points combined; Power, Escape, Social outlet, and Uniqueness. Is it any wonder that the game is so alluring to both women and men?

A new era for video game development…

•November 20, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) has herald a cry for more recruitment of women in the video game industry. Who is this cry directed to and for what evil plans are they calling for? Will as to who SOE is targeting, the video game companies such as Blizzard entertainment, Bungie studios, Capcom and so forth. SOE is asking video game companies to donate money for a scholarship called the Gamers In Real Life (G.I.R.L.) scholarship fund. The goal of this scholarship is to target women who are interested in the field and encourage their development and education in the video game industry. SOE has other goals such as encouraging more scholarships directed towards women interested in the video game industry as well as increasing job opportunities for women. The program was first introduced in 2008 and will continue on in 2009 under the direction of Scholarship America, a non-profit organization specialized in educational support.

My thoughts on this is that its about damn time someone took the bull by its horns and told it to calm the f*** down. Seeing that the video game industry has the retail market by its jugular, showing that it will never suffer from any threats of an economic rescission. I’m glade to see that the opportunity within the video game development will increase and hopefully be offered equally to women and men. Though we are still a long ways away from this fabled image of the land of equal opportunity.

Detials of the news report about this can be read at this following link:

http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/Sony-Online-Entertainment-Issues-Industry/story.aspx?guid=%7B26F04F86-7427-41F0-A31B-B7E992A0F503%7D

Detials of the scholarship itself can be found at this following link:

http://www.station.sony.com/girl/ScholarshipAmericaRelease.pdf

Booth Babes!

•October 28, 2008 • Leave a Comment

A key element of video game conventions has been targeted for its racy depiction of women: Booth Babes. This of course refers to the scantily clad ladies at video game booths who are there for the sole purpose of catching the focus of the male attendees. If you were to go into any game convention you will see the exhibit hall littered with booths all tooting their horns over their product. Each of these booths will have a lady dressed up as a key figure within the game. More often than not the characters the ladies depict are well endowed and showing off a lot of skin. So because of the criteria established by these characters the hunt for the right models, or booth babes, maybe more grueling then the search for a runway model. But this of course is my own speculation. I can only assume that when the game developers create female characters that have unusually large breast, as well as other unusual proportioned body parts. That finding the right model to that looks somewhat similar would be hard.

But other times most exhibitors will just hire some pretty ladies, dress them up and as little clothing that they can get away with, and viola, instant booth babe.


But the Electronic Entertainment Exp (E3) had heard the cry for change and understood that women were being depicted as sexual objects. So in 2006 E3 announced that booth babes will no longer be dressed so scantily. There will be a criterion in which booth babes must abide by.  This would include rules such as no bikinis, no visible under garments, and no sexually suggestive clothing.

So ummm… hmmm… I agree with the rules, and I like the fact that E3 is stepping up and acknowledging that there is a problem. But I don’t think that the problem is any better. Just a guess but I do believe that the message from previous years:

“Look at my pretty ladies!” (following picture taken at E3 2008)

Is still evident in E3 today, so did anything really change?

Women: An Untapped Audience.

•October 28, 2008 • Leave a Comment

So I came across this news article in the LA Times, http://www.latimes.com/technology/la-fi-gameswomen21-2008oct21,0,1682187.story?track=rss. The article talked about women, or lack thereof, in the video game developing industry. It was mentioned that “fewer than” 1 out of 5 workers in the video game industry is female. First off “fewer than” 1 when pertaining to people is 0. There is no such thing as .5 or .8 or any such number when it pertains to people. It just doesn’t make sense. But apparently in the video game industry such numbers do. Moving on, the article also mentions that there was a wage difference between males and females working in the industry. WHAT?!? A wage difference, let me take a wild stab at this and guess who makes more money; MEN! What a shocker, men making more money than women in the work industry.

Like this doesn’t happen in other industries.


Ok nevermind then, point taken…

So the president of casual games for Electronic Arts (EA) Kathy Vrabeck said the reason for this is that in the past males were the main audiences. Because of this the male adolescent youth were the main ones to develop the

“oooooh, I wanna grow up and make video games, YEAH!” mentality.


Now I wonder what was done to make video games geared towards men.

Ok now I see why…

Now when we consider our past employment history in the US it’s not shocking to see that the work force just happened to be dominated by men. In the grand scope of things, it’s a recent development that women have become a large chunk of our work force. So is it the lack of interest that women have in the video game industry that has contributed to the fact that 3 percent of video game programmers are women? I don’t think so. According to a recent national survey from the Pew Internet & American Life Project 97 of American youth respondents play video games. Of this 97 percent, 94 percent of them were females. Even though this is a survey done in 2007 and was aimed at youth, it still shows me that there is a large amount of interest in video games in the female community. This leads me to believe that there is something else that might be deterring women from going into the industry. Could it possible be the fact that games, as well as the jobs, are marketed to men?

Hmmmm….

I think just maybe, that it might be.

We might be on to something here. So maybe when job companies are throwing recruitment parties, they should leave the strippers out of it. Just a thought, but I think it might help the women interested in getting into the industry feel less alienated. But hey what do I know.

But there is still hope for women. Execs from SOME (I must stress the word some) video game companies view that women are an untapped demographic. Holly smokes you mean to tell me that women, one of the main reasons why our retail market is booming, is a source for profit? So all you need to do now is create a friendlier work environment such as implementing reasonable work hours (cause women aren’t stupid enough, like us guys, to work those insane work shifts), attract you some women folk and watch your revenue sore! Sounds easy enough, let’s see it actually done!

Games Marketed

•October 7, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Nintendo along with video game production company Ubisoft are marketing new video games for girls for the Nintendo DS. Ubisoft has introduced a new line of games targeted towards girl’s ages eight to fourteen. This new line is called Imagine and bolsters such titles as Imagine Babies,

Imagine Fashion Designer,

Imagine Happy Cooking,

and Imagine Figure Skater.

Now Nintendo isn’t new to games that target a female audience, in fact they have published several games in the past like Cooking Mama and its sequels, Animal Crossing, and Nintendogs. Granted I have played these games, and known a few other guys who have also indulged in these titles. But I have to say even with being on the border line of being too cute at times; the game play was still intriguing. Male gamers I’ve talked to (myself included) have found themselves whisked away in these games and found them entertaining. But with these new titles such as Imagine Babies the focus of the game is taking care of babies. Now I’m a fan of equal responsibilities for both parents when involving child care and in raising them. I find this game to be insulting to the idea of equal share in child rearing. It is plainly advertised and geared towards little girls with female models on the cover portraying happiness in doing such domestic jobs as cooking, cleaning, and child care. What a wonderful message they are sending to our adolescent female population. You might as well plop a cooking book in front of them, or a broom, as soon as they can walk and tell them to get to work. That’s about the same message they are trying to sell through clever (or not so clever) placement in cover art, and ads. Or better yet add a few titles in their product line that might better express their opinions on women such as

Along with these games a series of commercials with female celebrities are being used to market a new colored DS called metallic rose. 

But at least they aren’t stereotyping women right?

Oops Spoke to soon.  But Nintendo must think that women like other things that aren’t considered to be typical female interest…

hmmm…  I guess not.  But hey did you forget that the DS comes in a new color, Metallic Rose?

So the little girls of the world can not only play their sexist games, learn how to be domesticated before they reach adulthood, but they can be stylish while doing it. WOOHOO!! Sounds like a win-win situation to me. The sad thing is companies such as Nintendo and Ubisoft are blinded by their sexist outlook that they are missing one key element. Women gamers don’t shy away from games that involve violence. In fact Assassin’s Creed, a recently developed and popular game (who oddly enough is by Ubisoft), was produced by a women named Jade Raymond.

A question I’m left with is how a company, such as Ubisoft, employs women game designers but deploy sexist gaming tools that can potentially develop the next generation of domesticated females?

Women in Gaming International (WIGI).

•October 7, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Organizations have been developed to specifically target women in the gaming industries. Out of these organizations, one particular group stands out as the most influential. Women in Games International (WIGI) are an organization aimed towards providing help for women who are getting into or already in the game developing industry. WIGI debut in 2005 at a conference hosted by Microsoft in Redmond, Washington. During this conference a forum was created to discuss issues pertaining to women in gaming. This conference was free to attend and provided helpful information not only towards women, but men as well, that included but not limited to advancing or jumpstarting their profession in video game development. The conference even had a seminar on balancing home and work life and promoting healthier state of living. WIGI conference had some big name corporations sponsoring them and helped WIGI get the project off and running. Corporations such as Microsoft Game Studios,

International Games Developers Association (IDGA),

and Businesswire were a few of them.

The objective of Women in Games International is to boost awareness of the increasing numbers of women gamers and developers by sponsoring such events as conferences, seminars, workshops and forums. They also travel to trade shows sponsored by other corporations such as Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3)

at the Los Angeles Convention Center, which is presented by Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

Through these events WIGI looks to also recognize and support other collaborations and organizations whose focus is on the vital role women play in the video game industry. Through the efforts of WIGI and other organizations like it women are being viewed as an important demographic in the video gaming community.

 
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